Calls for police reform have become frequent in the United States. Efforts to enact meaningful organizational change will require support from senior law enforcement leadership. Personnel selection for several of these positions (e.g., Sheriff) occurs via local election. Little is known, however, about the factors that influence voters’ assessment of candidates for these positions and the extent to which decision-making for personnel selection via election is influenced by the same beliefs (e.g., person-job and person-organization fit) as more traditional approaches to hiring. This study explores the extent to which voters’ perceptions of two candidates for the position of Sheriff are affected by their job-related qualifications and political affiliations – and the extent to which these perceptions influence voter behavior. Results suggest that the combination of participants’ and candidates’ political affiliations accounted for substantial incremental variance in evaluations of the candidates’ person-job fit, person-organization fit, and overall suitability for employment above-and-beyond differences in their job-related qualifications; and that participants were approximately 39% more likely to vote for the candidate with lower job-related qualifications when that candidate shared their political affiliation. Reports about the extent to which republicans and democrats value/ support police practices provide insights as to why these effects were observed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Corresponding Author Information

Kareem Panton




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